“I would leave today [if I were Carmelo],” Roberston said on SiriusXM NBA radio Thursday. “… Let me tell you why: wherever that kid has gone, when he was at Denver, they had a team that fooled around with the ball, fooled around with the ball, then all of the sudden when they needed a basket, threw it to Carmelo. Then, when he shot the ball, they said he shot too much. Then when he didn’t shoot they said he didn’t shoot enough…No matter what he does in New York they’re going to criticize him, the people are going to criticize him, because you got guys on [the Knicks] that cannot play. You got guys that are hurt all the time.” He continued with, “If he goes to Houston, they’re gonna win everything,” Robertson told host and well-known Knicks fan Spike Lee. “You look at LeBron [James], LeBron’s got a great game and the kid down at Oklahoma, [Kevin] Durant’s got a great game — they can’t out-shoot Carmelo. … I’ve seen him in a lot of basketball games over the years and I’m telling you right now the kid, he just can get that shot away. Now he’s gotten smarter, he’s going to the basket a lot. But what gets me is that everyone thinks that everything that happens bad is his fault.”
So Oscar Robertson believes Carmelo should ditch New York for Houston. Is he right?
While Carmelo doesn’t necessarily have to go to Houston, there is no point in staying in New York. The only reason I can think of is money. New York can sign Carmelo to a maximum contract worth 129 million dollars over the course of 5 years if he stays. If he leaves he can only sign a 95.8 million contract for 4 years. So yes, the extra 33.2 million dollars is definitely enticing – think of all the things you could buy and the lifestyle you could live with that kind of money. However, Carmelo Anthony is for the most part already living that life. With endorsements and his 21 million dollar salary this year, there isn’t much more that he needs. Take into account his wife’s salary from TV and her book, The Love Playbook, and the Anthony family is living pretty.
Phil Jackson has made statements regarding superstars taking less money to help the team as a whole, but if Carmelo is going to be taking less than a max contract with New York why not take less with a team that has a better chance of winning a championship in the future. The Knicks have made “power moves” toward the end of the year to try and make New York a more attractive destination for Carmelo but what they have now and what they accomplished this season leaves anything but optimism in Carmelo’s mind.
The team was by far the most disappointing team of 2014. After a pleasingly surprising 2013 campaign, finishing 54-28 and 2nd in the East. Of course they lost in the 2nd round to the up and coming Pacers but not only was it the playoffs, it was something to build off. This year they played like a completely different team. J.R Smith had one of his worst years ever, full of marijuana, shoe-lace untying, and chucking. Raymond Felton almost shot his wife. Tyson Chandler broke his leg. Iman Shumpert faced a slump. Amar’e Stoudemire didn’t really start playing till the end of the season. Andrea Bargnani was hardly worth his contract, proved that white men could jump and hurt his elbow in the process. Carmelo Anthony, if he were to come back next season, would have absolutely nothing to work with except for an abysmal 2014 season, a new coach that would need to “gel” with the whole roster and then a rebuilding project starting in 2015 when all the big contracts are gone.
Carmelo has two viable options in my opinion. One more than the other. He can either not opt-out this season and be an unrestricted free agent in 2015, the same year all the big names would be free agents. I’m talking the Lebrons of the world. That would involve probably one more year of not making the playoffs considering the up and coming teams in the East (Wizards, Raptors, Hawks) as well as the power teams on the top (Bulls, Nets, Heat, Pacers). Then a free agency summer in 2015 where he could pair up with another big name free agent and try win with whoever that may be.
The other option, and the one Oscar Robertson is a firm believer in is ditching this summer for Houston or Chicago. Chicago is expected to amnesty Boozer and then would probably have room to sign Carmelo this summer. Carmelo has previously stated his respect for Tom Thibodeau and the way the Bulls play defense. Joakim Noah has also talked about possibly bringing Carmelo to the windy city next year. The Bulls would be bringing Derrick Rose back next year as well as defensive player of the year Joakim Noah. Along with a team full of hard-working defenders and two-way players, and a consistent coach of the year candidate in Tom Thibodeau, the Bulls would love to have Carmelo and for Carmelo’s defense a move to Chicago could be the best thing that’s ever happened to him.
If not the Bulls, the Rockets who look like they’ll be going down fast to the Blazers this year. The Rockets and Carmelo fit together perfectly. They both like to shoot the ball, and they both want to win. With Dwight Howard down low, James Harden handling the ball and Melo spreading the floor on the wing they would have a very very dangerous trio. They’d most likely have to get rid of Parsons, Lin and Asik to get this deal done but for Carmelo it would be worth it. I think with Dwight and Carmelo they’d both be in stages of their careers where they know they can’t play isolation ball for their teams to win. With the fast paced offense and strong role players for Houston, Carmelo would finally have a team that not only fits his skills but he would have people he wouldn’t mind deferring to and thus probably ridding him off all criticism. The Rockets are right in the thick of things in the Western Conference as opposed to the Knicks who have nothing to work with and will most likely need a rebuilding project in the near future.
Phil Jackson’s hiring and the Mike Woodson’s staff firing was a nice try but Carmelo has to see past the bright lights and the dollar signs and realize New York is and has been for a while a toxic place for basketball. The team is full of big overpaid contracts, no coach at the moment and a team that is going through an entire culture and roster change. For Carmelo, in the prime of his career at 30 years old has no time to start over. He needs to be somewhere he can win and whether it be Houston, or Chicago, Carmelo has to get out of New York as soon as possible.